QOTD: Will The Toyota Prius Kill the Hyundai Ioniq Like It Killed the Honda Insight?

qotd will the toyota prius kill the hyundai ioniq like it killed the honda insight

The Toyota Prius is struggling.

That’s not terribly surprising. Fuel prices are low. Efficient hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and electric cars are available at virtually every new car dealer. The Prius has lost its early adopter buzz.

Oh, and the 2017 Toyota Prius is a grotesque little creature, shaped for the wind; not your eyes.

Toyota sold fewer Prii in America last year than at any point since 2004. In 2017, Toyota expects to sell far fewer than in 2016.

Making matters worse is the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid I’m driving this week. The Ioniq is $2,485 cheaper than the Prius. The Ioniq is, at the very least, less unattractive. The Ioniq’s interior is both more attractive and more straightforward. And hear ye this: the Hyundai Ioniq is rated at 55 mpg city and 54 mpg highway; better than the Prius’s 54/50 ratings.

But the Toyota Prius has witnessed the arrival of a direct competitor from a major passenger car player before. Yes, the Toyota Prius saw the Honda Insight and the Toyota Prius killed that Honda dead.

Will the Toyota Prius become a serial killer and murder the Hyundai Ioniq, too?

(Matt Posky’s first drive review of the Hyundai Ioniq was published last month. I’ll be reviewing this Ioniq Hybrid Limited shortly.)

The Ioniq, of course, is no Honda Insight. When the second-generation Insight was achieving 41 mpg on the EPA combined scale, the Prius was rated at 48.

The Insight required more time than the Prius to accelerate from rest to 60 miles per hour, possessed 27-percent less cargo volume, and consequently generated only 73,222 U.S. sales during its entire tenure. The Prius has averaged 130,000 annual sales since the second-gen Insight’s arrival.

The Ioniq presents an entirely different situation. Besides the fuel economy credentials, the Ioniq is at least as quick as the Prius — and feels punchier in the real world – and also features 8-percent more cargo capacity and marginally more passenger volume.

But does it matter how good the Ioniq is? Or does it simply matter that the Prius is; that the Prius exists? The Prius represents standard operating buying procedure for consumers in this category.

Can the Hyundai Ioniq, soon to be available as an all-electric and plug-in hybrid, succeed where the Honda Insight couldn’t?

Or will the Hyundai Ioniq follow the Honda Insight’s five-model-years-and-out path, killed by the Toyota Prius?

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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  • Jalop1991 Jalop1991 on Mar 23, 2017

    As much as I hate the Prius design ever since 2010, I will say this: a business acquaintance related as to how he had bought a Hyundai and his wife bought an Accord. As he put it, "We know who has the longest warranty. We also know who has the better car." 'Nuff said.

  • M1EK M1EK on Mar 24, 2017

    The Insight was Honda getting fooled by all the know-nothings on sites like this who insisted the Prius only sold well because it "looked like a hybrid". Hyundai seems to have learned part of the rest of the lesson, at least.

  • Daniel J Also, the additional 20K is spread out over a loan, which could end up closer to 24K.
  • Wolfwagen When will GM and Dodge/Ram come out with a BOF 2 door sport utility? Im not one that jumps on the first year new vehicle bandwagon, but for a new Ramcharger, I'd sleep out in front of a dealership for days to be first in line for preordering (or infront of my computer for hours)
  • Wolfwagen Is it me or does the front end look like a smaller silverado?
  • MQHokie Who decided moving all headlight control to the touchscreen was a good idea? I assume this means no manual high beam control anymore, so you're at the mercy of the automatic system that gets fooled by street lights, porch lights, sign reflections etc. Not to mention a good software bug or a light sensor failure might render the lights inoperable. With all the restrictions the NHTSA has placed on USA headlight design over the years, it amazes me that this is even legal.
  • Teddyc73 The Bronco just doesn't have enough editions and models.
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